During the presidential campaign, Congress came under fire from all sides. Mired in public disrepute and policy stalemate, it is an institution that cries out for renewal. Congressional leaders asked Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, two of the nation's most noted experts on Congress and the governing process, to provide an independent assessment of Congress and to offer recommendations for improving its effectiveness. Mann and Ornstein reject both the "business-as-usual approach to reform", which assumes that no change is necessary following the election, as well as the "Congress-bashing" emphasis on scandals and congressional perks. Instead, they focus on substantive ways to improve Congress' performance as a legislative body. Their recommendations are designed to strengthen the ability of the House to set an agenda and act upon it; increase the quality of deliberation and debate; improve relations between the parties; reform the campaign finance system; and clean up Congress' internal support system. This book is the first in a series by The Renewing Congress Project, a joint effort of the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution. Future reports will deal with the Senate, the budget process, and executive-legislative relations and will serve as a resource for the new bipartisan Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress.